Switzerland. The Swiss people in a referendum in June said no to a proposal to allow citizens in closed polls to grant or reject citizenship applications. The proposal was an initiative of the anti-immigrant right-wing party SVP (Swiss People’s Party).
A dispute with Libya arose after Libyan leader Muammar al-Khadaffi’s son Hannibal and his wife were indicted for mistreating two maids during a visit to Switzerland in July. The couple were arrested but released on bail. The reaction was strong in Libya, which inter alia seized two Swiss nationals, restricted air travel between the countries and forced Swiss companies to close their offices in Tripoli. In early September, the maids withdrew their charges. Nonetheless, Libya subsequently announced its intention to cease its extensive oil exports to Switzerland and withdraw all assets from Swiss bank accounts pending an official apology.
The first experiment with the world’s largest particle accelerator began in September at the European nuclear physics center CERN outside Geneva. After only ten days, the accelerator – a 27-kilometer tunnel under the ground – broke down, but that did not prevent the plant from officially inaugurating a pump and stand in October.
The global financial crisis hit hard on Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS. The government entered into a rescue package worth over SEK 400 billion and became the owner of almost a tenth of the bank. Three top executives resigned due to the enormous losses that occurred and also relinquished the bonus money after pressure.
The two ministers in the assembly government who were excluded from the SVP just before the turn of the year joined the newly formed Citizens Democratic Party, BDP. When one of them, Samuel Schmid, left his ministerial post, it paved the way for SVP’s return to the government. In December, after three rounds of votes, Parliament appointed Ueli Maurer as new Minister of Defense. SVP’s poster name Christoph Blocher again saw himself voted off.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of SZ in general and in geography as Switzerland in particular.
Healthcare professionals demand better conditions
Around 1,000 doctors and other healthcare workers are demonstrating in the capital Bern for wage increases and other improved conditions in light of the pressure they are experiencing during the pandemic. The police are forced to intervene to protect the demonstrators, who attacked from a distance of a hundred people who are out to protest against the restrictions during the pandemic.
No to proposals for reduced immigration from EU countries
In a referendum, almost two thirds of the participants voted against a proposal from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) to stop the free movement of workers between Switzerland and EU countries. Around 75,000 EU citizens are estimated to come to Switzerland each year. According to opinion polls, many of the voters believe that it would be negative for Switzerland with stricter rules for mobility between Switzerland and the EU as it would lead to a shortage of skilled labor and to problems for the country’s economy. However, SVP believes that the current system has led to increasing costs for housing and higher expenditure on welfare for the state.
SVP appoints new leader
The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) appoints Marco Chiesa from the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino as the new leader. The party has for several months tried to find a successor to Albert Rösti. Chiesa has promised to continue pursuing the party’s immigration-critical line, which is, among other things, against the free movement of workers with the EU.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Switzerland in 2008 was 7,808,564, ranking number 97 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.120% yearly, and the population density was 197.6079 people per km2.